The Vintage Cookie

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Three Martini Lunch Exposed.

On Saturday at a local charity shop I found a lovely collection of mid-century Japanese glassware in my favorite "bamboo" pattern. There were about 30 glasses in a range of cocktail shapes, including sherry glasses, brandy snifters, liqueur glasses, champagne coupes, and six of the cutest little martini glasses you have ever seen. Herein lies the secret to the Three Martini Lunch, the martinis were tiny.

Above is a photo of the mid-century martini glass (on the left) and a modern martini glass (on the right). The modern glass is not a particularly large example, either - just a standard glass out of my cupboard. (The little blue figure standing in front of the glasses is a Lego minifg, for scale.) The photo does not exaggerate the difference. The mid-century glass holds 2 ounces, filled to the brim. The modern glass holds nearly 8 ounces, similarly full. So three martinis in 1964 would barely equal one martini today.

This reflects a general difference when comparing vintage to modern table ware. Plates, tea-cups, cutlery, everything was smaller scaled. And, of course, servings were smaller, too, unless you had three of them.


  1. I have a sizable collection of commemorative slurpee cups. I'm waiting for a historical analysis of the increase in cup size.

  2. All I can say is that the Slurpee and its ilk grew fast. The cup holders in my old Accord were quite useless long before the car was ready to retire. My 2004 CRV has cup holders that can take a 3/4 liter bottle of Gatorade, but they can't quite accommodate a McDonalds Sweet Tea.

  3. Further follow-up. Today I stopped in at the big Salvation Army on Gordon Boulevard in Springfield, VA and found a set of 6 of the teeny-tiniest liqueur glasses I have ever seen. Each one holds about 3/4 of an ounce. They are considerably smaller than the kiddie stemmed glasses that Ikea sells in their toy department.